[UPDATE: I did a poll to find out when exclusive pumpers get their periods back, which you can read about here. This post is just my story.]
When I was six weeks postpartum with my first baby, I went to the bathroom and noticed a great deal of bright red bleeding. The bleeding that I’d had after giving birth had tapered off significantly, and I was surprised and a little worried.
So I did what no one should ever do – I googled my symptoms. “Bright red bleeding six weeks postpartum” found me some helpful links, most of which indicated that I was probably hemorrhaging and should seek medical care. Luckily, I happened to have my six week checkup that morning. However, I was concerned that if something was really wrong with me, and I’d have to be admitted to the hospital,* who would take care of the baby? So I told my husband he had to take off work and come with me.
(*So I don’t sound crazy, I will note that both myself and my baby had each been (separately) unexpectedly admitted to the hospital in the the past six weeks.)
When I got to the exam room, I hurriedly told my doctor all about the bleeding.
“I think you have your period,” she said.
Pure genius! I made my husband take a day off of work to take me to the doctor because I had my period.
At that appointment my doctor and I talked about pumping, and she said that she tends to see women that are exclusively pumping get their periods sooner than those who nurse. I’m not really sure why this would be, to be honest, unless the exclusive pumpers in question supplemented a lot.
After that period, I didn’t get another one until nine months postpartum. I’m not really sure why or what happened. At nine months, though, I started getting periods regularly. I’m not sure why – typically, your period will come back when there is less time between lactation sessions. For nursing moms, this might be when the baby sleeps through the night or starts eating solid foods. For an exclusively pumping mom, if you’re on a schedule, these things won’t affect when or the amount that you pump.
Pretty much anything is normal, when it comes to getting your period when you’re breastfeeding. You could get your period at 4 weeks postpartum or not until you wean completely. Once you get it, it could come regularly, but might not. You could be super fertile once you start cycling, or not able to conceive until you wean. Your periods might be longer or shorter than they used to be (and this may or may not change after weaning).
I don’t think most people enjoy having their period, but ugh. I am not a fan of menstruating and lactating at the same time. My supply tanks, the cramps are horrible, and it’s just really heavy and not fun.